Showing posts with label trade policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trade policy. Show all posts

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is Who Trump Wants To Sell Weapons To


Communists and capitalists are laughing all the way to the bank while their useful idiots argue over the trivial details of their respective fiefdoms.

Mongabay: 14 Year Sentence For Vietnamese Activist Over Chemical Spill Protest

Refresher: Trump Pursues Weapons Deal With Totalitarian Communist Regime

During the APEC conference in Hanoi last year, Trump aggressively tried to sell U.S. missiles to Vietnam’s communist regime and oversaw the signing of two memorandums of understanding between Vietnam’s state owned gas company, PetroVietnam Gas, and two American gas companies: AES Corp and Alaska Gasline Development Corp. These events transpired as the result of Obama lifting the arms embargo against the country in 2016. Relations between the two governments have been thawing after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Congress began providing foreign aid to Vietnam in 1991 and Clinton ended the trade embargo against Vietnam in 1994. USAID currently spends about $68M per year on the country (as of FY 2016).

We are once again met with crickets on Capitol Hill in the face of intolerable human rights abuses, but since they are being committed by a government that currently has profitable business partnerships with major U.S. industries, they apparently don’t matter. Of course, the same could be said of the Chinese government’s persecution of religious minorities and organ harvesting of political prisoners.

On February 6th, Hoang Duc Binh was given a 14 year prison sentence for the heinous crime of vlogging about and protesting the government’s hesitant response to the 2016 Formosa chemical spill, or as the kangaroo court put it ‘slandering authorities and abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on state interests (in the same way that a slave may infringe on the interests of a slaver). During the same trial, a fellow activist was given a 2 year stint for ‘opposing officers on duty’. Six other activists have also been convicted of similar thought crimes related to the chemical spill. Perhaps the most famous case, which received temporary corporate media coverage, was that of journalist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who went by the pseudonym Mother Mushroom. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to her coverage of human rights abuses and environmental issues in Vietnam. Since Trump doesn’t really believe in free speech I doubt he would take issue with anything the communist regime has done. He probably wishes he could emulate that here, but for now he is consigned to calling unfavorable coverage of himself fake news and threatening to revoke broadcasting licenses on twitter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Red Tape Times (article 33)

Trump Plans To Impose 20% Tarrif On Canadian Softwood Lumber


Source: NewYork Times

Link not included because it's pretty much in every major newspaper. I first heard about it from NYT.

The new tax, and that's what it is, is supposedly being levied in retaliation for Canada subsidizing their softwood lumber products. Oddly enough, the U.S. government also subsidizes the U.S. lumber industry but don't let facts get in the way of Trump's protectionist charade. Also keep in mind that this is the same shitbag who wants to take away property rights from American citizens (through eminent domain) so a Canadian company (TransCanada) can export it's tar sands oil here, which will eventually find its way to foreign markets. To think Trump has any principled objection to Canada subsidizing it's lumber industry is laughable and naive; something consigned to mental incompetents who think public officials act from altruistic motives. Regardless of Trump's motives, the new tax on imported lumber serves a purely sentimental benefit for people with incoherent ideas about fairness. In the long run, consumers are always the losers in trade wars and it is American consumers who will pay this tariff in higher lumber and real-estate prices. Protectionism, like it's first cousin socialism, is based on the false notion that the government can create jobs and therefore wealth by taking money from one industry and giving it to another (i.e. the broken window fallacy). We might see a spike in domestic lumber production, but we won't see that there is less disposable income available for other industries. The net difference is zero when we take the latter into account.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump Slays the TTP And Restrains Executive Branch Hiring

President Trump has only been in office for three days and he has already destroyed a major hallmark of Obama's failed legacy. The U.S. entered into trade negotiations with a handful of Pacific rim countries during the tail end of the Bush Admin, but Obama pursued the Trans Pacific Partnership for nearly the entirety of his two terms, starting only a few months after he was sworn into office. Now, those eight years of toil have been obliterated in a single day. President Trump released a memorandum formally withdrawing US as a signatory to the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. The trade deal was initially negotiated in secret by the most opaque administration in recent U.S. history. The only public information about this national sovereignty killing trade deal came from that bastion of Russian propaganda otherwise known as Wikileaks. I myself did not become aware of the TTP negotiations until October 2015 when I was still on Experience Project, and haven't done much research into it since February 2016, though I have talked about it in two previous posts here and here. President Trump plans to only negotiate bilateral trade deals, that is, deals made with individual countries instead of trade blocs.

President Trump also instated a hiring moratorium for Executive branch positions, in a separate memorandum, with the exception of military personnel, any positions necessary to maintain national security, or officials appointed by the president. Included in the memorandum is an order for the Office of Budget and Management to come up with a plan to reduce the size of the federal workforce and a ban on using outside contractors to circumvent the hiring moratorium. While this reduction in federal spending is relatively minor, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction that will hopefully gain momentum during the Trump administration.




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Obama's Fascist Legacy

Obama's Police State
I am more relieved than ever that the Obama presidency is over, not because I think anything will improve under a Trump presidency, now complacency towards the march of tyranny will finally die. Every leftist crying that the inevitable Trump presidency will bring fascism here has apparently been asleep for the past eight years because they have failed to grasp that the Obama Administration has set the precedent for fascism. He didn't just continue the Bush era police state; he expanded it and made it much worse. The fourth and fifth amendments have been obliterated under his administration; he not only extend the Patriot Act twice and left the PRISM program in place, he broadened it by allowing the NSA to share the private information of American citizens with federal law enforcement if they come across evidence of a crime, giving way to the use of parallel construction in prosecutions. It was also not too long ago that he signed the amendments to Rule 41, allowing judges to issue search warrants for computers outside of their jurisdiction. It was under his administration that the subpoena power of FBI field offices were expanded to include email data and browsing history and the Cybersecurity Internet Surveillance Act was passed, eliminating liability for tech companies that share Americans' data with the DHS and requiring the DHS to, in turn, share this data with the NSA, DOD, and Director of National Intelligence. Lets not forget that it was this administration that signed indefinite detention into law through a provision in the 2011 NDAA. The same administration assassinated four American citizens, through drone strikes, without a jury trial, around the same time. Now that the dictatorial powers to indefinitely detain American citizens accused of abetting terrorism, without a criminal trial, and executing them via drone strikes has been handed over to Trump, I am sure the left will start paying attention to the exponentially growing executive powers. Under his administration, civil asset forfeiture revenue ballooned from 1.5B in 2008 to a peak of 4.5B in 2014, exceeding the aggregate value of property stolen by common thieves (3.9B). The same administration brokered more weapons sales than any other since World War II, and lifted the arms embargo on the totalitarian socialist regime of Vietnam. On his watch, local and state police received more surplus military weapons than under previous administrations, and non-military federal spending on guns and ammunition jumped from 55M in 2006 to 112M in 2011. Even administrative agencies such as the FDA,  the EPA, the United States Mint, and the VA bought 335M in military gear and weapons. The EPA, for instance spent 3.1M on guns and ammunition from 2006 to 2014.

Obama's Imperialism 

The Obama admin destabilized three near east countries through three illegal wars, conducted without congressional authorization, in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Libya has been turned into a wasteland overrun by warlords and Salafists; Yemen has been bombed into oblivion and starved by the Washington backed Saudi coalition, and Syria might have shared the same fate as Libya were it not for 'Russian aggression.' You would think that out of anyone, a noble prize winner would be repulsed by the usual excuses of collateral damage and cheap appeals to expediency, which is best exemplified by his arming of 'moderate rebels' i.e. Salafi terrorists who invaded Syria from the surrounding Gulf states and coopted the early protests.

Authoritarian domestic policies tend to be correlates of perpetual warfare either at home or abroad; historically, there is a high degree of comorbidity between the two. At present the Obama admin has deployed special forces in four different countries (Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq) and is conducting the CIA drone program, that has killed hundreds of civilians during Obama's tenure, in seven different countries. It is no wonder that he has ramped up the war on terror propaganda and ramped down our constitutional rights.

Side Note: A popular misconception is that Obama ended the war in Iraq, which is false on two grounds: the agreement with the Iraqi parliament to withdraw all troops by 2011 was negotiated under the Bush admin and there are at present still a couple hundred special forces in Iraq.

The Trans Pacific Partnership 

The so called 'free trade' agreement that Obama tried to push through congress, but failed, would have had the same effect as his foreign policy, which is the consolidation of corporate power on a global scale (i.e. globalism). Had Obama been successful in this endeavor, the Trans Pacific Partnership would have dealt a single death blow to our national sovereignty. Even though it died with Clinton's loss, it still had a significant impact on our laws; the Country of Origins Labeling Act was repealed, the DARK Act was signed into law, and the executive office was given fast track authority on future trade agreements.

Final Note

I do not believe that the election of Trump has saved our republic, but it has, for the time being, slowed the political momentum towards despotism by sowing discord between the press and the executive office. Perhaps a hostile press will unwittingly bring the Obama administration's abuses to light when Trump inevitably capitalizes on them for his own agenda.